TORONTO, CANADA — The idea of a space elevator that hangs in Earth orbit is a lot more realistic than one would think, says professor George Zhu of York University, who recently published a study of the concept in Acta Astronautica.
The study found that humans already have the materials and technologies to build a profitable space elevator.
One idea would be to install two flexible tethers in parallel and loop them together.
The bottom would hang in low Earth orbit, while the top would reach into deep space.
You would still need rockets to reach the bottom station, but you'd save a lot of fuel and costs by transporting the payload via elevator into deep space.
By using two parallel tethers, the elevator would be more stable and can maintain opposing forces while transporting cargo.
This would prevent the Earth's rotational force from moving the cable back and forth.
Zhu says that one elevator would be moving up while the other elevator would be moving down, so the forces would cancel each other out.